Barry Hannah, postmodern romantic by Ruth D. Weston

By Ruth D. Weston

A thematic journey of the full works from this unheard of southern author

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Barry Hannah's short fiction not only negates the illusion of the formal unity of story, with a tidy resolution at closure and thus the illusion of story as coherent mimesis in any traditional sense; it also destroys the illusion of the unitary self depicted by story and the Joycean illusion of the writer as a distant, disinterested creator. , Boomerang, and Never Die). One result of this kind of story is that in spite of its very real narrative intent, that is, its wish to tell a story, each narrative eschews a single story with a single theme, a practice that ignores Poe's dictum of the single effect.

Page 11 But America is not exclusively the product of Reasonnot even in the area of legend.  . The dream of the Republic is quite a different thing from that of the Revolution.  . [with an underside of] profound inner insecurity and guilt, a hidden world of nightmare not abolished by manifestos or restrained by barricades. 1 This psychic split manifests itself throughout the major traditions of American literature, from Charles Brockden Brown and J. Fenimore Cooper onward, as Fiedler demonstrates.

Still others are so grotesquely limited that an alter ego is required for their completion. They are exemplified by the dual protagonists French Edward and Dr. Baby Levaster, characters first introduced in the early short stories and developed in The Tennis Handsome, a novella that, when compared with the first versions of its chapters, demonstrates the increasing poetic condensation characterizing Hannah's mature style. Hannah also extends his vision of the grotesque through fantastic or superhuman figures, such as the ''grofft" and the legendary "yarp," the latter of which is the subject of what he calls his "riff" on the Arkansas mountain culture and Ozark folktales.

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